Friday, July 11, 2014

Magical Thinking

When the Rains Came
36 x 24 Mixed Media on Artists Canvas
Since the first woman (yes, anthropologists now believe it was the females and not men) drew a bison on a cave walls of Chauvet-Pont D'Arc magic has played a large part for artists. And whether the figures of herds of bison and antelope were a shopping list or a charm for a successful hunt the artist was using their skill to call forth an image, or cast a spell, or make a wish.

Charcoal figures or complex mandalas or prescribed sand paintings for healing all have an element of magic involved. Artists can be very superstitious individuals from having to have their favorite brushes or just the right color or pacing in front of the canvas waiting for the muse to visit them. Or panic they have somehow angered that muse. Ask an artist where they get their ideas and they may go into a song and dance about their first visit to Utah or seeing the work of Matisse as a youth. But secretly I think many of us believe we channel what we paint. And if we are successful that spiritual connection does not stop with us but flows to the viewer. When it really works the patron buys the painting for their wall.

Us painters can also be rather silly about "charms" we put into our works. New Mexico artist, Tom Nobel, almost always has magpies in his paintings. I put ravens in my day time skies. And there is almost always more water in my canyon paintings then there is today. It is a wish to return to a time when thee was more water. Sheep are for abundance. Tom Nobel told me once he always sold a painting with sheep in it. Seems to work for me too.

And it isn't just in the creating we get into that magical thinking. Hang around an art show being set up and you will think you are at an off site betting polar. Everything from positive affirmations to mystical layouts to wearing certain clothes during set up and opening night. Yes, we have all read the marketing blogs and books about the correct layout and pricing theory, etc. But then there is what we believe in our minds contrary to all logical thinking. I have three little malachite eggs (malachite attracts money) I like to put in the pocket of my blazer. On the practical side it gives me something to do with nervous hands. And there are pieces of jewelry I think are charmed.

Across the US this is a big art weekend. Many of my friends are once again in ArtsFest here in the valley. Another friend on the east coast is doing her first fair with her photography. And I am in Trinidad tonight with the official reception for Meraki, my first gallery exhibit in Colorado. Lots of magical thinking going on. Good luck to us all.


  1. Well said! The artist is ever hopeful. I have my turquoise I wear - the pendant of Cerrillos turquoise I got in Madrid; the turquoise bracelet I got at Acoma, and a turquoise ring I bought from an artist at a craft fair. Talismans of hope.

    Good luck tonight, your work is wonderful.


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